The #8 Hornets handed the #1 Knights their first loss of the season winning the 34th Fullerton College Classic by a narrow score of 78-77!
Like a great heavyweight fight, the two colleges have built up quite an interesting past within the last two years. Last season, the Hornets beat the Knights in their San Diego City Tournament, and then Knights got the last laugh defeating Fullerton in the state title game by a basket. This season, the Knights defeated the Hornets in the title game of the SD City Tournament, and then the Hornets returned the favor tonight. The history between these two quality programs is far from over.
Fullerton made a statement on the opening shot, a three-pointer by Khalil Stevenson, but by 18:00 SD City whipped past the Hornets grabbing an 8-4 lead.
FC took a 9-8 lead on a three-point shot by Akil Reese at 16:39, and the two teams exchanged shots, keeping within a basket of each other, until the end of the first half. When the dust cleared, the Hornets held a minimal 40-38 lead.
The second half remained a slugfest with both teams matching one another shot for shot. With 12:57 left in the game, Fullerton had made their move taking their largest lead at 56-47, but the Knights shrunk the 9-point lead down within three minutes taking a 57-56 lead. They were not going away.
With the minutes melting away, the game was boiling down to the team that scores last wins, and that team was Fullerton College. Tied at 76-76 with 1 second left in regulation, SD City missed split a pair of free throws. Jason Richardson was then fouled and was set up to win the game if he could hit both of his free throws. He made the first to tie the game at 77 apiece and then hit the second to ice the game for Fullerton.
This war-torn game featured 26 lead changes and 15 ties.
The Hornets had a better night crashing the boards out-rebounding San Diego City 43-28. Although the Knights had a better shooting average (45.6% to 40.4), FC made the difference faring better at the free-throw line 77.5% to 64.7%.
Fullerton's Akil Reese led all scorers with 21 points and also had 9 rebounds. Jason Richardson scored 19 points and had 6 assists with 4 rebounds. Khalil Stevenson followed up with 18 points while adding 8 rebounds. Vaj Rice chipped in with 12 points and 4 rebounds.
This year's tournament MVP went to sophomore Jason Richardson from Junipero Serra High School in Gardena, CA.
Jacob Lilley – College of the Canyons
Jeremy Smith – Citrus
Robert McCoy – SD City
Khalil Stevenson – Fullerton
Akil Reese - Fullerton
Up Next: The Hornets (5-1) will play at West Hills Coalinga on Thursday, November 16th. Tip off will be at 6:00 pm.